SHORT STORY: LOCKE AND CELES [FINAL FANTASY VI FANFICTION]
Something else from the archives, from many years ago: some Final Fantasy VI fanfiction! I should probably revise this sometime, but here it is in all its unadulterated, green glory! Read here or at https://www.wattpad.com/411342998-selected-short-stories-locke-and-celes
(picture credit to Dani Oliver, check out his awesome sprite art here!)
Locke and Celes
How Locke met Celes
Locke, a self-proclaimed treasure-hunter (though some would call him little more than a thief) crept carefully through the secret passageway he had found.
It was late evening. Locke was a member of the Returners, a rebel group that were looking to counter the progress of the Empire of Vector, which was slowly making its way across the Northern Continent. It had taken him a lot to get here; he had been working hard in this, the town of South Figaro, to stymie the military efforts of the Empire, raising underground support, sabotaging equipment, and so on. Now he was attempting to affect his escape—and a very dangerous one it was too: He was currently in a secret passageway which he had found out about from a local that led out of the mansion the Imperial soldiers had taken over and were using as their base in the town.
Getting here had been hard enough in itself—he had had to clobber a patrolling cadet over the head, steal his clothes, and then blag his way into the mansion. The secret passageway itself was behind the obligatory bookshelf; a hidden route out of town that the wealthy owner of the mansion had built and himself made use of when the Empire invaded, according to Locke’s informant. He had just got inside and was making his way along slowly in the semi-darkness. Thankfully it was lit by a few candles. He decided to take off his cadet uniform and change back into his normal clothes, as it would only slow him down.
As he was finishing getting changed he heard voices—the Empire must have found the passageway too! He had changed too soon. He pressed himself up against a wall and reached for his sword, but then he realised where the voices were coming from. A little way along from where he was stood there was a door. He shuffled over to it and the voices got louder. He could make one out.
“—what happens to traitors!” it said. An angry male voice, undoubtedly belonging to a soldier. Locke realised there was a small window of open space in the door. He risked a look through, and nearly gasped. Inside was a stunning blonde woman, dressed in white armour and a white cape, chained to the wall by her hands and feet. She was being mocked by two soldiers. He could have sworn he had seen her somewhere before…and then he remembered where—she was one of the Emperor’s three Generals!
This was confirmed by the next thing the guard said. “So the mighty Celes has fallen! This is what happens when you put a woman in charge!” The two soldiers laughed.
The woman shot them a dignified look of defiance and said “I’ve not fallen as far as those who would use their strength to oppress the weak.”
“Quiet!” said the second guard. “Did we give you permission to speak?”
“Don’t you know?” The woman continued undeterred. “Kefka’s planning to poison every last man, woman and child in the kingdom of Doma. That’s an atrocity.”
“Shaddup!” The first guard slapped her around the face. The woman made no noise. In fact her gaze only intensified. Locke thought he saw a flicker in her eyes where she might have noticed him, but if she did she did not show it. Maybe she did not want to alert the guards to his presence.
“Run that mouth while you still can, General,” said the guard. Your execution’s tomorrow. Keep a close watch on her.” He nodded to his comrade.
“Yessir!” said the soldier, standing to attention. The first guard turned, and Locke ducked away from the window just in time not to be seen by him. He held his breath and remained perfectly still as the door opened towards him, stopping inches away from his face, obscuring him. Locke clutched the hilt of his blade at his side.
The door shut, and to his immense relief, the guard went down the corridor in the other direction, away from him. Locke crouched down and followed him, as quietly as he could, at a distance. At the end of the passageway was a door. Locke let the soldier go through it, then waited in silence for a few moments, before going through himself.
The room behind was large, full of clutter, just as poorly lit and, again to his relief, empty. There was a set of stairs in the corner, which, according to his informant, led to another set of passageways and, eventually, the outside world. Locke started to mount them, then stopped. Something held him back.
He looked an old grandfather clock that was stood amongst the mess that filled the room. It was ten o’clock. Locke thought for a moment. Then, he found a small gap between an old armchair and an overturned wardrobe, and lay down on the ground, making sure he was still in view of the grandfather clock.
Three o’clock in the morning. Locke looked up from his five-hour long semi-slumber, clicked his tongue against the roof his mouth a few times, and then got to his feet. He prized himself on his ability to wake himself up whenever he wanted. It came in useful in his profession.
Thankfully, no-one had come in to the cluttered room so far during the night. He went back out by the door through which he had come in and crept back down the mansion’s secret passageway. He put his face to the door window and smiled. Just as he thought.
The second guard sat slumped on a chair, snoring loudly. The woman was asleep too, her head bowed as she hung chained to the wall. It looked very uncomfortable.
Locke opened the door as quietly as he could manage. He went stiff as metal when it creaked, but nobody woke.
He tip-toed over to the sleeping guard. He took out his sword, and thumped the man on the back of the head with the hilt. The man fell to the floor and sank even further into unconsciousness.
The woman looked up with an intake of breath and opened her eyes.
“And you are…?” was the first thing she said to him.
“I’m Locke.” said Locke. “I’m with the Returners.”
“You’re a Returner…?”
“I’m…or at least I was…General Celes. Now I’m nothing but a traitor…”
As she was saying this, Locke retrieved the keys from the floored guard’s belt. He walked over to Celes and started to remove her bindings, one by one.
“What are you doing?” she said.
“Well,” said Locke, “we had better get going!”
“You’d take me with you?” said Celes, as Locke finished freeing her. She rubbed her wrists. “No…” She shook her head. “I appreciate it but…even if you got me out, you would never be able to protect me. I’m better off waiting here for the executioner. At least that way I’ll keep my pride.”
“I’ll protect you,” said Locke.
Celes looked at him.
“Trust me! You’ll be fine.” He put a hand on her arm. “Come on, let’s go!”
He turned and made for the door.
Celes paused for a moment, then followed him out.
“Why are you helping me?” she said to Locke.
“Let’s just say you remind me of someone. What’s it matter anyway? I’m helping you because I want to.”
They passed through the cluttered room, up the stairs, and through the next door. Behind it were more corridors, now made of stone, darker and colder. Before long they came to a junction. Locke couldn’t remember the directions he had been given for this part of the escape.
“Left or right?” he said.
“I don’t know!” said Celes. “What sort of rescuer are you?”
“Left,” guessed Locke.
With some hesitation, Celes went after him. They made a few more guesses at the next set of turns, but Locke had no idea where he was going.
Just then a shout rang out. “Jailbreak! Sound the alarm!”
His heart sank. The guard had woken up, or someone else had discovered what had happened. They started running full pelt, taking more turns at random. Some lights appeared ahead of them, and there wasmore shouting.
“Here, take this,” he said to Celes, handing her a dagger. He drew his sword.
And then the soldiers were upon them. Five of them, including the oaf Locke had subdued earlier. He still had the Fireblade that Edgar had given him, and it lit up red with its own fierce light. He blocked the first guard’s blow, then parried another. It was quite easy to hold off the soldiers in the narrow corridor, but he struggled to find an opening to counterattack. Just then he heard a shout from behind him.
“Locke! Get out of the way!”
Surprised, he sprang back and to one side just in time to avoid being hit by a blast of freezing cold air, snow and shards of ice. The blast smashed into the soldiers and threw them back along the corridor, knocking them to the floor, there weapons and bits of their armour frozen solid.
Locke’s mouth dropped open. “How did you…?”
“No time to dawdle!” yelled Celes. “Come on!” she grabbed his hand and started running back down the corridor.
“Hey, who’s rescuing who here?” protested Locke.
“You’re doing great,” said Celes. “The soldiers came from over there, which means we should go this way…”
She took a few more turns, and before they knew it they were climbing a new set of stairs. At the top of these, they came to a trap door in the ceiling. Locke hit it with his scabbard. It opened and they felt the cool of the air outside. Locke clambered up, then helped Celes up too. The trap door shut behind them with a satisfying thud.
They sat down and caught their breath for a moment. They were in the grasslands just outside South Figaro.
After a while, Locke said “Celes, how did you do that thing to those soldiers back there?”
“I’m a Magitek Knight.” said Celes. “I was infused with magicite when I was a child. One of Emperor Gestahl’s lead scientists, Cid, raised me as his own. I was trained as the Emperor’s weapon all my life. As you saw, my own native magic is of the icy variety.”
“Wow, so that was magic,” marveled Locke.
He looked at Celes. The sun was just beginning to dawn, and it illuminated her crystal-cut face and long, blonde hair with a golden aura. She was beautiful.